A $450,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is helping School of Information Technology faculty Billy Lim and Bryan Hosack change the way introductory computer programming classes are taught.

The two are expanding a teaching curriculum pilot program that integrates available Web technologies into first-year programming classes to make lessons more meaningful and engaging for students. The three-year grant allows their innovative curriculum to be shared with a group of colleges and universities across the nation.

The curriculum was developed and tested in introductory computer science and information systems classes within the School of Information Technology under a previous NSF grant. Lim and Hosack found that student engagement and test scores increased when Web-based technologies were integrated into programming assignments in first-year classes.

“We’re hoping to establish a lasting trend in how foundation programming classes are taught,” said Lim, who noted that “the fundamental approach used in teaching introductory programming courses has remained basically the same for a long time and has not kept pace with current trends.”